January 2, 2007
Santa Rosa de Copán, Honduras
...and a happy new year... (sung in a strong Spanish accent). You know it! Another year has passed, preparations have been made and now we launch a very exciting year here in Santa Rosa de Copán. Before sharing what's been happening and going to happen very soon, I want to take this opportunity on behalf of our staff, our volunteers and all the kids in our neighborhood to say thank you to those of you who were able to help us in 2006. That includes those who came to visit, those who sent cheques big and small to 3CM in Cochrane and to all those who have been praying for our safety and our impact on the lives of others here. Thank you very much.
In the past month, we were able to perform the final interviews and identify the 8 boys who will be the "charter members" of the Moses Club (OK... the Moses Project) and we were able to interview and identify the family who will be the "house parents" for the boys. We just about lost the truck down a little gulley on our trips out to the villages to notify the boys, but all's well that ends well and the truck continues to live another day. You can't imagine how many times I've told my wife how much I love that truck
The couple that will be looking after the boys are Mario & Laura Pineda. Mario is a sales manager for a bread distributor, originally trained as a teacher, and Laura has numerous years experience working with adolescent boys. While both are very nice people, Laura has a strong personality and I don't think the guys are going to want to cross swords with Big Mama (OK, she's actually not very big on the outside at all). We met again on Saturday (Triny, Mario, Laura, Fredy and I) to discuss some of the upcoming activities and timing and I was impressed with their insight into some basic items.
Fredy, our agro-industrial engineer who is looking after the rural development component of the project for us, is working out very well. He is very thorough and seems to enjoy the opportunity to have his own little experimental farm to play with while imparting his knowledge to others. Luis and his wife, Griselda, are living at the farm and we will be employing Luis from now on (he has been building bricks up to now). Luis looked after the coffee harvest for us and has been doing a good job. I was saddened to learn that he and his wife couldn't go to their family's home to celebrate Christmas because they couldn't leave the humble little farm home unattended. Otherwise, local thieves would notice that they were both gone, break down the door and steal the coffee, the meager furniture, etc. So far, we have lost a garbage barrel and two cheap water taps to thieves on top of countless bananas, lemons, plantains, etc.
The coffee harvest was a new experience for me. In the first pass, we (OK, not much of me to be honest) picked about 350 lbs of raw coffee and sold it in it's raw form. Then in mid December we did the second pass and they picked about 2,000 lbs of raw coffee which we transported in our truck in 2 loads to a local beneficio to run it through a peeler and wash the slime off the inside bean. That left us with about 600 lbs of coffee beans to put out to dry in the sun. In the end, we'll end up with somewhere around 400 lbs of dry coffee (called gold coffee) ready for roasting.
From La Roca, the kids participated in a presentation downtown in the central park. Our center was well represented by a dance presentation performed on stilts and then a marching band which played well (without the marching part). I've been listening to the band practice now for several months and let's just say that their performance was remarkable considering the ruckus to which I've grown numb. The kids were really proud of themselves and this confidence is one of the key components that we are trying to develop in them so that they are able to make better life decisions without defaulting to destructive patterns that are all to common in the marginal neighborhoods.
Three days before Christmas we showed the movie "Polar Express" at La Roca to an enthusiastic crowd of kids. It started out in black and white and I had to run home to grab my computer to replace the DVD machine so that they could enjoy the movie to the max. Of course, for them the movie is really just a prelude to cake and Pepsi (thank you for all your advice to those dieticians who will condemn us for our choice of party food).
For full details and pictures of each of the youth in the Moses Project, please check out the Participants page of the Moses Project component of our website (just click on the word Participants above to be redirected to the page). We will be actively recruiting sponsors for these boys starting in March. The delay isn't because they don't need sponsorship before then, but rather that their presence here in Santa Rosa starting February 1 will facilitate our ability to put together fuller profiles of each of them to provide better information to potential sponsors.
We always welcome your feedback, so feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.